Whether you are visiting London, have just moved in to town or are a lifetime local, here are the best London apps you need to download right now to make life in the city a breeze – and the ones you need to swerve.


First things first; if you are in London for any length of time, you need to know the weather forecast. Visitors, this is why Britsh people talk about the weather so much; you can get sunshine, rain, hailstones and a significant temperature drop within a single hour – and that’s all year round.

Young man walking in the city street with umbrella on a rainy day in October, and looking at his mobile phone. Crossroad and traffic light can be seen in the background.

Met Office

The Met Office is the official UK provider of weather data, so the OG of forecasting. The app shows an icon for the type of weather (sunny, cloudy etc.) and basic information such as temperature and chance of rainfall. For weather geeks you can also see predictions on a map and video forecasts, plus it has optional high pollen alerts.

BBC Weather

If you just want to know at a glance what to wear and when to nip out to the shops, then this is the weather app for you. All the essentials are on the main page in a clear and uncluttered format: weather type, temperature, percentage chance of rain, wind, UV and pollen counts – plus times for sunrise and sunset, if you’re planning some rooftop cocktails.

Best London Apps for Getting Around


Google maps

Great for directions when walking around London as it has an actual birds-eye view of your location and clearly shows not only road names but local businesses and landmarks. You can also select a range of business types to see what’s around – particularly handy for a last-minute run to a pharmacy or grocery shop – plus its Google rating.


This app is perfect for keeping track of your favourite places in London because it is so customisable. Add all your regular haunts, recommendations from friends and from our fabulous, tried-and-tested posts (best burgers in East London anyone, or the best Sunday roasts in Soho?) and create any tag you like to be able to filter them, from late-night music spots or BYO restaurants to indie art galleries and pubs with beer gardens.

Although it makes this list because it organises your London life the way you like it, we also love it for planning trips; simply add your accommodation along with any restaurants, bars, museums etc. you want to visit, then share your map with your crew. If you just want to highlight a selection of places you have in that area, then create a new ‘Holiday’ tag for those and then you can all filter by that tag. As an added bonus, if someone asks you for recommendations once you’re back, share the map and they can access all your information.

Tubes, Trains & Buses

Group of multi ethnic friends moving by subway

City Mapper

Okay – this is the non-negotiable one. If you only download one app from this whole list, make it this one – this is how Londoners get from A to B.

Get set up with your home/hotel address and then type your destination into ‘Get Me Somewhere’. It will come up with your journey as a dotted line on a map; click the arrow to the next page and you get the option to change the date and time of your journey so you can pre-plan, plus a range of transport options with times and prices. Choose one of the suggested routes (which will be the quickest combinations), or select bus only, cabs, cycles, or even routes with air conditioning – it will take into account delays, engineering works and strikes. If you choose to walk, it also lets you know how many calories you will burn.

One of my favourite features is that it will give you the next three or four scheduled departure times for your bus/tube/overground of choice, so you can plan when to leave and then know how long you will have to wait if your bus stop doesn’t have one of those digital displays. It shows all the stops (and changes, if any) between your starting point and destination – very useful if you are on a long journey and would like to know the couple of stops before yours – which you can screenshot if you don’t want to use data. It will also give live walking directions (like Google Maps) for the final part of your journey.

TfL Go

The Official Transport for London app gives you real-time information on the tube, DLR, Lizzie Line, Thameslink and London Overground trains as well as trams and the IFS Cloud cable car. Find out how busy a tube station is, what zone it is in, if it has step-free access or toilets with baby-changing facilities and whether there are any delays or disruptions.

Tube Map – London Underground

This is the official TfL app using the iconic London tube map for those who like to plan old-school. Save your most-used stations for real-time information on any issues and plan your journey avoiding delays and closures. There’s now a map for the night tube, which is a bonus for you party people out there.


Yes, you can use your smartphone to tap in and out of the TfL network, but then you can’t get home if your phone dies on a night out. Oyster cards can be bought and topped up at tube, overground and Lizzie Line stations, some DLR stations – and on the app.

You can buy visitor Oyster cards in advance and pre-load them with pay-as-you-go credit; there is no expiry and you can have any unused credit refunded at the end of your stay.


Woman using mobile smart phone in the night light colorful background


When you need to be driven door-to-door, Uber is most Londoners’ first port of call. Enter where you want to go and choose from a range of cars, including electric, extra-large or pet-friendly vehicles. You’ll get an ETA and a set price – no more worrying about your budget if you get stuck in traffic – and you can track your driver’s arrival on a map. At the end of the trip you have the option to rate and/or tip your driver, but be careful – they can rate you too, which might affect how quickly drivers accept your booking next time!

If you’re sharing a cab you can also share the fare on the app, and you can set up contacts to notify about a trip, so they have full details about where you are and what cab you’re in. There’s also a nifty ‘Errands’ option, where you can add up to five stops on one trip – great for picking up the gang on the way to the pub, or hitting the post office, dry cleaners, corner shop and takeaway in one go.


Very similar to Uber; we generally check both before we book, as they can vary on price and availability.

Free Now

Another ride-hailing app, but this one is good if you particularly want a London black cab, as you can choose that as an option – great for visitors.

Bikes & Scooters

It’s a fun way to get around town, but please remember that, like all major cities, London’s roads can be dangerous. Currently there seems to be an irritating problem with vandalism; it’s becoming more and more common to find that your bike is missng pedals or a seat, or has a flat tyre or dodgy brakes, leaving you searching for a replacement.

Santander and Lime bikes, Strand, London
Photo by Amanda David

Cheapo Top Tip: We’ve looked at the two most popular bikes in central London but if you are West London-based, it’s worth checking out Dott.


Lime bikes have long been the electric bike of choice, in central London at least, with a cool design, plentiful choice and a handy little basket for your stuff; you can reserve a bike for up to ten minutes and they are undeniably, exhilaratingly nippy. Recently though there have been some grumbles about the new app update, plus the vandalism issues mentioned above. Make sure you know your way around the app before you book and factor the time to find a functioning bike into your journey.

Santander Cycles

The bikes are fine, mostly pedal power (although there are some e-bikes for members) and there are lots of centrally-located docking stations but sorry, we don’t love the app. It’s clunky, prone to randomly crashing and annoyingly doesn’t accept Apple Pay.


Thames Clipper London ferry boat
Photo by iStock.com/ablokhin

Uber Boat

This is the Thames Clippers River Bus service, now in partnership with and rebranded as Uber. There is a separate app but unless you are planning to use it regularly, you might as well go through the main Uber app.



One of the best car rental apps; book a one-way Flex car on impulse for that last-minute road trip, or book a roundtrip car or van up to a year in advance for your flat move. Everything is organised via the app – from navigating your way to the car, unlocking it, then locking the car and ending your booking.


Another paperwork-free, app-driven option (if you’ll pardon the pun) where you don’t even need a key to unlock or start your car. Rent a Mercedes, or if you’re in zones 1-3 you can get it delivered to your door.


This used to be the navigation app of choice but tbh we think Google maps is probably better now. Great for traffic cameras – but it’s hard to drive fast enough in London for that to be a problem any more.

Luggage Storage

Photo by Getty Images - anandaBGD

Whether you’ve just arrived in the city and need somewhere to safely store your suitcases until check-in time or you’re heading to a gig or venue that has banned large backpacks (Harrods, we see you), you can find a local spot here.

Best London Apps for Eating Out

Photo by Amanda David


This is a fairly new app for booking bars and restaurants in London. You can book up to a week ahead but its superpower is finding last-minute reservations – and I mean tables available in the next 15 minutes.

So if the first date drinks are going well and you fancy spontaneously heading on to dinner, Ambl will find you a local restaurant with a cosy table for two. Or if you’re out with your mates and fancy finding somewhere for that one last pint (don’t kid yourself, it’s going to get messy) you can search for nearby bars with standing room for a group.

Options tend to be towards the more casual end of the market at the moment, but given that it’s a win-win for both the user and the bar/restaurant, it will surely be a must-have app before too long.


This now includes the app previously known as WalkIn, a genius virtual queueing app for those bars and restaurants (i.e. half of London) that don’t take reservations. If they are on this app you can join the virtual queue from 2km away (increasing to 5km if you have a history of showing up); alternatively, if you turn up to find there is a wait, you can chill out in a local bar or similar until the restaurant messages or calls you to let you know your table is nearly ready.

Best London Apps for Tickets & Gigs

A band playing their hearts out at a festival show.


This is a super-useful app if you go to a lot of gigs. You can find live gigs by following artists you like, or by connecting to your Spotify/Apple Music account and getting suggestions based on your library. You can also connect with friends and suggest events within the group. There’a a waiting list to buy tickets for sold-out events (where you can be sure you’re not being scammed) and where you can sell your own tickets if your plans change.

Buying tickets is a breeze but, if you should happen to need some help, Dice has a seriously great customer service team – always good to know.

Central Tickets

This is a great way to get cheap ‘seat-filler’ tickets if you can be free at short notice – and an incentive to be a little more eclectic in your tastes – but the service seems more email-focused. The app isn’t the most user-friendly out there and there seem to be some issues with a recent update.

Today Tix

Easy-to-use app for theatre tickets, whether you’re booking in advance or looking for some last-minute availability. As with Dice, you can be sure your tickets are genuine and avoid those long queues at the box office.

Cheapo Top Tip: There is a small booking fee, so once you have chosen your show date and time, it’s always worth a quick check of the theatre website to compare prices.

Best London Apps for Basics

Bicycle delivery commuter with road bicycle delivering package to customer

Last-minute Food Shopping


We all know that you can get your take-away food delivered to your door by the trusty Deliveroo riders but don’t forget you can get groceries too – anything from toiletries to toilet rolls, Lemsip to lemons and courgettes to cat food. You can track your delivery’s progress live on the app and upgrade to Deliveroo Plus free for a year if you have Amazon Prime.

Uber Eats

Very similar to Deliveroo – worth checking both for availability and price if you are after something in particular, food or grocery-wise.

There are loads of other apps than can grab your groceries for you – Gorillas is a noteworthy one – but you’ll probably be downloading these apps anyway so they can deliver your dinner. All run regular offers and promotions, so it’s worth checking those out if you’re looking for inspiration.



I don’t really have to explain how useful this app is for locals and visitors alike. There’s the odd occasion when a public toilet is out of order or locked but generally this is a great alternative to sneaking into a pub or coffee shop, or having to buy a drink to get the ‘customers only’ toilet door code (because there’s a clear flaw in that plan).

If there are any you think we have missed, let us know!

Written by:
BIO: Freelance writer, flâneuse and former blogger at London Girl About Town, Amanda is dedicated to sharing the latest on London's restaurants, bars, hidden quirks and general wonderfulness.
Filed under: Getting Around

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